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Board of Judicial Affairs approves Senate’s recommended changes to Alternative Review Process

At the ASSU Senate’s Jan. 29 meeting, Senator Lauren Miller ’15 announced that the Board of Judicial Affairs (BJA) had approved all of the Senate’s recommended changes to the Alternative Review Process (ARP).

“The BJA was really great at taking all our revisions,” Miller said. “They passed them all unanimously, which was really exciting.”
The Senate will vote at next week’s meeting on a bill to approve the enactment of the modified version of the ARP. If the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and the Senate both approve the bill, the recommendations will be brought to the Faculty Senate at its March meeting.

Senators also approved a bill to increase the maximum allocation for the spring quarter grants program from $40,000 to $75,000 because of the high number of applications received. The Senate received 36 applications from general fees student groups for spring quarter events.

ASSU Assistant Financial Manager Stephen Trusheim ’13 encouraged senators to think carefully about increasing the total grant allocation.

The Senate funds the grant program through its buffer fund, which receives close to $100,000 each year from a 10% tax levied on students during the special fees process. Trusheim, who received $35,000 from the ASSU buffer fund last year on behalf of Stanford Concert Network’s Frost Revival Concert, reminded senators the additional disbursement would constitute an even greater reduction in the Senate’s reserves, affecting the resources available for similar programs in the future.
“It’s well within what the Senate’s done in the past, but I just want you to think about this when you vote about it,” Trusheim told senators.

Senator Viraj Bindra ’15 advocated for the increase to $75,000 under the condition that the Senate reconsider the allocation amount in future years.

“I’m completely fine spending this now, but I think we should keep in mind that it’s a one-time thing,” Bindra said. The Senate passed the bill unanimously.

The Appropriations Committee is currently reviewing the 36 spring applications and plans to notify grant recipients on Feb. 4. According to Appropriations Committee Chair Nancy Pham ’14, the total amount requested by spring quarter grant groups was almost $150,000.

“We haven’t had a chance to meet up and review all 36 as one batch,” Pham said. “I would say it is going to be more difficult [than reviewing the winter grants] because there are more events.”

This quarter, several Senate committees will examine other possible uses for the Senate’s large buffer fund. A separate sub-committee focused on the fund’s use will begin meeting this week.

Senators unanimously passed 14 funding bills allocating $14,079 to student groups, including four groups whose applications for the winter grant program had been rejected. Pham said that the Appropriations Committee attempted to help rejected groups find alternative funding for their event.

“For the most part, we worked with all of the groups and made sure that they were okay with having the event proceed with funding from their discretionary general fees,” Pham said. “We still wanted the events to happen, we just didn’t do it through the grant.”